‘Preposterous & Unacceptable’: Press Club on Prasar Bharati vs PTI

PCI has released a statement in support of PTI, calling Prasar Bharati’s move “preposterous” & “unacceptable”.

Published01 Jul 2020, 02:14 AM IST
2 min read

Days after public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio, issued a notice to news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) alleging “anti-national” reporting, the Press Club of India has released a strongly worded statement in support of PTI, calling Prasar Bharati's move "preposterous" and "unacceptable".

"Prasar Bharati...has failed to live up to its mandate of being India's public service broadcaster, the mandate given to it by the Act of Parliament through which it was created in 1997," PCI said.

"It has become a lackey of the Union government, though it is technically autonomous and, as such, controls AIR and Doordarshan," it further added.

Anand K Sahay (President) and Anant Bagaitkar (Secretary General) of the media body also alleged that the move against PTI is a step to control medium and small news organisations throughout the country which are fed by PTI news feeds – “all in the name of ‘nationalism.”

"This has emerged as part of a pattern that we deplore," it added.

Last week, the letter by Prasar Bharati came after PTI published an interview with Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong where the diplomat blamed India for the ongoing border crisis in Ladakh and the Galwan Valley.

Prasar Bharati was reportedly reviewing its relationship with PTI after the interview.

In response, PCI argued in its letter that PTI behaved like a fully professional news platform in interviewing China's ambassador in New Delhi recently.

"In doing so, it scooped all in the media. The interview yielded valuable information at a time of heightened tension between India and China," it highlighted.

"For its pains, PB has accused PTI of acting to the 'detriment' of 'national interest'. This is preposterous and unacceptable. A bureaucratic outfit has arrogated to itself the right to define the "national interest" and pass judgments on what constitutes news, mimicking features of a dictatorship", added PCI in its criticism.

It also maintained that such moves strike at the very notion of media freedoms and seek to choke the working of a free press.

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